Home at the End of the World, A

Published: Friday, Sept. 24 2004 9:06 a.m. MDT

Colin Farrell stars as Bobby in "A Home at the End of the World."

Rafy, Warner Independent Pictures

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A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD — ** — Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Dallas Roberts; rated R (drugs, sex, nudity, profanity, violence); see Page W2 for theaters.

Much ado has been made about a scene that was trimmed from "A Home at the End of the World" in which Colin Farrell bares all. Supposedly the very sight served as an insurmountable distraction to preview audiences.

The film — adapted from the novel of the same name by the author, Michael Cunningham ("The Hours") — follows the love triangle that forms among Farrell's character, Bobby; his childhood friend, Jonathan (Dallas Roberts); and Robin Wright Penn's Clare, the daffy hatmaker who shares an East Village apartment with Jonathan but shares her bed with Bobby.

Jonathan is gay but he's secretly in love with Clare, his best friend who's secretly in love with him, too. Then Bobby, who used to fool around with Jonathan, moves in with them and gets involved with Clare — and Jonathan, again.

This confusion is the most intriguing thing about the first film from longtime theater director Michael Mayer. The movie dares to present characters who are also a little confused, who not only don't mind being involved in amorphous relationships, but who seem genuinely content to have found themselves there — at least for a little while.

Bobby, who seems to have suffered from arrested development years after the deaths of his parents and his older brother, has a childlike, it's-all-good attitude about everything. Now working as a pastry chef, he comes bounding back into Jonathan's life with hugs and kisses for everyone — and sometimes more.

This leads to Clare's pregnancy and feelings of jealousy and abandonment. The characters say and do things that aren't always rational, but that's OK because that's what real people do.

"A Home at the End of the World" is rated R for strong drug content, sexuality, nudity, language and a disturbing accident. Running time: 95 minutes.